Time on Frog Island is a game that takes place, you guessed it, on an island inhabited by frogs; with some other creatures as well. This adventure was developed by Half Past Yellow and published by Merge Games. This was the studio’s first major game release and it is developed by a fairly small team. This title released last month on July 12th for all major platforms and we got the opportunity to review the game for the Nintendo Switch thanks to the publisher Merge Games. Now, I do have a lot to say about this game, so let us get right into the review.
In terms of the story, it is actually fairly simplistic overall. You are a sailor who has crash landed on the island and needs to rebuild the ship to get to the next island. Now in order to fix the ship, you need to find a bunch of different items. Some of these items are easier to get than others, but none of them are too complex to obtain. Mostly, you have to help the characters to get the items needed to sail away from the island. You will meet a bunch of people that will help you on your travel and life on the island. When there is occasionally a load screen when you are resting at night, you will see a few images that showcase what happened before crashing on the island. Overall, the story isn’t the highlight of the game for me, but it is really easy to understand.
The gameplay was already talked about a little bit in the second paragraph. Basically, you are getting items to help repair your ship, for probably about 80% of the game. The items in question are held by people and in order to get them, you need to either find other items located around the island, play matchmaker between two individuals, and more. In order to get some of these items, you need it to either be raining or sunny which happens randomly after sitting at the campfire and moving on to the next day. Some of these items are located in more difficult areas to get to, but nothing is really too hard to figure out after a little while.
What about the other 20% of the game? 80% or so was finding items to repair the ship, but the other 20% is doing other things around the island. There are extra puzzles to do such as a sculpture puzzle that requires you to find 3 mini statues that are located in trickier parts of the map to find. There are also foot races where you have to race from location to location in a certain amount of time. There are other puzzles scattered throughout the island like helping a farmer keep away crows, helping a cook make a dish, and more. There was also a shop that you can get some items after a certain main quest completed. Lastly, you can build a house on the island and have a “home away from home” which I thought was kind of cool.
I do have a few different gripes with the game that hindered my enjoyment overall if I am being honest from a gameplay . One of these small inconveniences that eventually I got use to was the fact that you can only carry 1 thing at a time which does mean you are running around the different areas a lot. The other thing that I also got use to but really annoyed me at the beginning of the game, was the fact there was NO MAP at all. Thankfully, the map is not that large so you figure out where everything is located pretty quickly. I guess it’s part of the design of the whole sense of the game of exploration and chill, just it made me a little bit upset as I didn’t know where to go at first.
Alright, I talked about the story and gameplay, what about the other things like the visuals, performance, music and everything else. Well there isn’t really anything in terms of voice acting as it is something I liked to call “Sims Speak” where its garbled and it has a couple of pictures of what you need to do. Another thing about the voice acting/audio design, there was not really any music in the game from what I could hear. It was more of the sounds of the island and it had a Lofi kind of vibe which was kind of nice to have a slower chilled experience. The visuals on the Switch OLED, which was where I played it on, were really bright and well done. The performance on the switch was fair for most of the game but there was some frame rate hiccups and also some bugs like going through a small bridge. Otherwise, game runs good on switch.
The game overall isn’t a bad game by any stretch of the word, but it is definitely no where near the best I have played or what I hoped it would be. Maybe I had too high of an expectation, but I still thought it was pretty decent. If you like games with no combat (minus so very angry dodo birds chasing you after stealing their eggs) then you might like this chill adventure. You also would probably like this game if you like puzzle games with gameplay that is varied a little bit and doesn’t really hold your hand. If you like Animal Crossing or The Sims, you might like this game for its simplicity. Indies come in all shapes and sizes, and while this one wasn’t a killer standout for me personally with how many others I have played this year so far, it definitely has lots of joy and passion put into it from the team; and I really respect that for what the finish product is, because even though its not perfect, it definitely isn’t bad whatsoever!
Thank you to Merge Games who gave us a review code for the purpose of the review.